GWI Board 2019-2022


Terry Oudraad – Women Graduates – The Netherlands

 Vice Presidents:


Advocacy and Education

Louise McLeod – Women Graduates – USA

Louise McLeod has more than 30 years’ experience in the non-profit sector dealing with women’s issues at the local, national and international level.

Louise holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Toronto and a Graduate Diploma in Computer Science from Concordia University in Montreal. Louise has spent the last 20 years developing websites for non-profits specializing in web-based database applications and non-profit communications and has worked in the business-to-business marketing sector.

Louise’s particular interest is women’s issues at the international level particularly Human Rights, Human Trafficking in all its forms and Women, Peace and Security. She is a founding board member and immediate Past President of Women Graduates-USA and currently sits on the board of the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund where she serves on the Project Grants Committee, and the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition in Pennsylvania, USA.

Louise has three daughters and six grandchildren. She and her husband, Brian, live in Buckingham, PA.



Dr. Basak Ovacik – Turkish Association of University Women

Dr. Basak Ovacik is from the GWI Istanbul Branch. She considers herself lucky to have had the chance to have an education, and feels responsible to help others to have this chance. That is why she wanted to be a part of the GWI Board.

Born in 1973 in Antalya, Basak studied international relations at Bilkent University in Ankara, and has done her masters at London School of Economics. She worked for DemSA group (part of Sabanci Group, a worldwide prestigious company in Turkey) for several years as Garment Merchandiser, after that she established my own company (with a partner) on textile production and export. She visited a great number of fairs, produced and exported children home textile products to European companies.

She is married and has a 16 year old daughter.

Basak would like to continue her career on the academic side, she believes in life long education, whatever your age is. She started a PHD programme, and is now writing her PHD thesis under the title “women NGO’s role in decision making of governments.”

She is also working at the Social Responsibility Committee of Cercle D’orient where they give scholarships to successful students, give banquet to nursing home residents in certain events, celebrating children’s day with orphanages, etc.

It is her 21st year of membership in the Turkish Association, since she became a member in 1996. Her mother is also a member so Basak has information and experience since her childhood. She established the branch of Istanbul in 2008 and was the first president.

She participated in more than 5 boards as a member, worked together with 5 presidents.

She was at the LAC of the 31st Triennial Conference held in Istanbul in 2013. She was elected as” YM International Co-ordinator.” She attended conference participation sessions, held a YM’s dinner, and guided some of the visits. She settled up friendship relations with members of many national federations/associations during the conference.

She is very familiar with the GWI topics which are widely discussed for years in her country and in her association. They are working hard to raise awareness of so many subjects such as education, human rights, health concerning women. We are working to find solutions, trying to force the administrative and governing bodies.

TAUW’s main aim is to strengthen girls and women in every field of life but basically in education. Human rights and education and access to education for girls and women are the most important topics they are dealing with.

Her association has 2 big projects concerning the issues; ‘Child Brides’ and ‘Friendship Bridge.’ She has been working in both of the TAUW’s projects from the beginning.

The Friendship Bridge Project, developed by a group of members, provide support for women university students financially and socially. They have 250 students this year. They also provide language and computer technology courses in our association’s building. They make organisations to provide financial support (for their scholarships), buy entertainment tickets to provide cultural support, organise seminars, talks on health issues, law and rights issues etc, they provide clothing and books for our students from the beginning of their university life until their graduation.

They have mentors providing support for each students’ transition to city life, the completion of their studies and the start of their career. Child Brides Project: developed by a group of TAUW members again. Child, early and forced marriage is a serious human rights violation that particularly affects girls, depriving them of education, autonomy and self-determination. They are working to find solutions, trying to force the administrative and governing bodies.

They have launched a project with students in the Friendship Bridge Project to raise awareness of the harm caused by child marriage and to urge communities to end the practice. The students are trained by TAUW to advocate against child marriage in their rural communities when they return for the summer holiday: students meet with at least ten groups, including community leaders, school leaders, officials and parents, to address child marriage within their communities and create steps to end the harmful practice. They started a campaign which will inspire lawmakers to enforce the legislation that has already established the minimum age for marriage as 18.




Eileen Focke-Bakker – Graduate Women International Netherlands

Drs. Eileen Focke-Bakker is Vice President Membership and Co-Founder of GWI-NL based in Leiden, The Netherlands. She is a sociologist of non-western countries with a major in education. She has worked in many non-western countries helping to found new schools in these areas.  She has worked in various roles and across many sectors at Delft University of Technology (DUT). As Project Manager and Policy Advisor on Safety and Security Issues, she co-created the Dutch Approach to Safety and Security. She developed risks analysis and management methodologies including ICT solutions.  She held positions as Auditor at DUT performing operational audits and as Safety Quality Manager at HSE where she monitored performance and quality of the DUT organization on HSE. As Policy Officer for Diversity she developed and implemented policies to the advancement of women in science. She has coordinated various policy research projects to seek insight in mechanisms of gender diversity.




 Legal and Governance

Veena Bathé – Indian Federation of University Women’s Associations


Veena BATHÉ has over 20 years’ experience of working with non-profit organisations dealing with women’s issues at the local, national and international level.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Bombay and a post graduate Diploma in Computer Programming. She is a Director of Penta Consulting Pvt. Ltd; a business advisory company and handles the accounting and compliance for the company. She has also functioned as the Management Representative for the company’s ISO certification and Quality Assurance resource for the company’s cloud based Governance and Compliance platform –

Her focus at UWA, Pune, the local chapter of the Indian Federation-IFUWA, has been streamlining and documenting the policies and procedures. During her tenure as the UWA, Pune President (2013-15), organisational systems manual was developed, with clear formats and processes to bring uniformity and clarity in the operations & management of the various activities of the Association.

As the Secretary of IFUWA (2011-14), Veena BATHÉ initiated the digitization of the federation’s important documents and records. She was the member of the GWI Finance committee, 2013-16.

Veena loves to travel & design. She did a stint as an entrepreneur of Suvina Papercraft (2002-13), in design and production of eco-friendly handmade paper products. She lives in Pune, India, along with her husband Subhash who is a Chartered Accountant and Lawyer. Her son, Viraj is a Lawyer, specialising in corporate law.




Glenda Hecksher – Mexican Federation of University Women

Glenda Hecksher is GWI VP Marketing and is also currently the VP of International Affairs at the Mexican Federation of University Women (FEMU). Outside of this sphere, she is also known as a prestigious Mexican artist whose deep-talented spirit has engaged with peace, equity and justice issues. It has brought her to deserve many recognitions and prizes for the past forty years. Her artwork has been exposed in Mexico and abroad, from museums to national and international institutions to some of the most prestigious universities and to other public spaces. One sculpture was even adopted as the official symbol of the Peace Messenger Cities Association and another is in the United Nations High Commissioner for the Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland. As homage to her country, she made a series of Pre Columbian and Occidental sculptures, one from this collection can be found in the Vatican and three others are in the Women´s Museum in Mexico, City. Her artwork has even been printed on postage stamps and lottery tickets.

In her artwork, she tries to convey the fact that artists have to be aware and concerned about the world they live in. Injustices therefore move her and many of her art collections including The amourouses, the Dance of Life, Precolonial, and Women Trees are about war and peace, highlighting also that love knows no borders. In many of her sculptures, she also likes to represent hands as a symbol of peace, like what she made on one of the main highways in Mexico City. For her, they are the living tools of the human brain.

For her work, she has received prestigious awards including The National Prize: Woman of the Year 2010, awarded by the National Women Chamber (CANADEM), and other acknowledgements from The International Federation of University Women, The Lions Club of Mexico City, The Ibero-American Association and Philippine Universities, The Federal District University in Mexico, “Prix Italia Per L’Arte” in Florence, Italy, UNICEF Mexico, UNHCR and The Commission of Culture of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies. Furthermore, she received homage from the Regency of Mexico City in the Room of Councils and was candidate to the Mexico City award in 1993.

Glenda Hecksher’s creative talent and natural leadership have placed her at the heart of cultural and educative mobilisations to work for peace and human rights, particularly women’s rights.



Katharina Strub – Swiss Association of University Women

Dr.  Katharina Strub was nominated by the board for the position of GWI Treasurer on February 17, 2017. Previously, she was approved as the Swiss assistant treasurer of GWI at the Cape Town General Assembly in August 2017. Katharina Strub has been a member of the Swiss Association of University Women and a board member of its Geneva branch.

Katharina Strub has obtained a master degree in Biochemistry at the University of Fribourg and a Ph D. of Molecular Biology at the University Zurich, Switzerland. She spent a few years at the University of California, San Francisco before returning with her husband and their two kids back to the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Until her retirement end of 2014, she directed her own research group and worked as a professor at the University of Geneva. She has been responsible for managing the different funding resources of her research group, which covered expenses such as salaries and consumables as well as services for research activities. She is also a board member of the Swiss Society for Molecular and Cellular Biosciences and of the Geneva branch of the Swiss Association of University Women and participates in managing the finances of these societies. To stand up for equal rights and promotions of women in Switzerland and worldwide has always been a very important issue for her.






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